I always remember the first time I heard reports from people online who were reporting that bees were going missing when I was using tribe.net in 2006 or 2007. Eventually the news was being reported on TV and news sites and reports were coming from the US, UK and we had relatives in Italy who had almost empty hives in Spring, with no bodies.
There have been many explanations as to why this was happening and many people to this day believe these theories. I knew quite early on that almost all the popular theories failed to explain all the circumstances and left out one important key fact. Organic and Biodynamic Bee farmers didnt have any missing bees...
Recently I watched a really good documentary called "The Vanishing of the Bees" which properly investigated the entire story with a fully open mind and without leaving out important details, which many conspiracy theories like to do. What I didnt expect from the documentary was learning the ugly truth of modern industrial bee keeping. It blew the whole thing wide open and has raised allot of important issues I dont think most people are even aware of when they buy regular honey. What you are about to read may shock you.
Bees are bought by farmers 'mail order', shipped from opposite sides of the country or to other countries. This is done because of our love for mono-cropping - there simply are not enough wild bees to pollinate their fields even before the current problem started. Now they have to order more 'takeaway' bee hives to replace all the missing bees. Those modern industrial bee keepers, who keep bees for honey production will take all the honey from a hive then 'dupe' the bees by filling the honey comb thats left with sugar syrup! The bees then feed off the junk food.
To produce these modern hives the Queen Bee is knocked out and 'artificially inseminated' with specially selected semen in a lab. But she will have a good life feeding off Royal Jelly right? Wrong - unlike in the natural or organic farming world where the Queen lives for many years, the bee farmers kill the Queen Bee by beheading her (im not even kidding you) and then replace her every year. The Queen is replaced by a cloned female bee who has to be caged in a small box inside the hive. This is because the hive will not recognise the human selected Queen and could attack her. After a while the hive is yet again 'duped' and accepts her as their new Queen, until the next replacement comes anyway...
All that is just the start of a huge problem we yet again have created for ourselves. Not only is the modern farmed bee a genetically modified species with a very small gene pool, fed on fake honey, we also blessed these creatures with weak immune systems. Add to that a few common viruses or mites and some chemical sprayed fields for them to further feed from and its all systems collapse! Bee pollen from non-organic farms contained about 20 different pesticides which seem to be building up inside plants and soil over years and years of spraying(Yes we will be eating this too!). One popular pesticide had just begun to be used in the US at the same time the bees started to vanish. This same chemical was banned in France 10 years earlier when the bees started to die off in exactly the same way as they are today.
You may think this is out of your hands but we can support natural bees by planting gardens and growing your own food, buying less non organic foods and showing these people what you think to their bee keeping methods by buying organic, biodynamic or local permaculture honey. Our modern ways of farming and working with nature are clearly not sustainable and are creating all sorts of problems.
© Ivan G - 2010 http://www.merkabawarrior.blogspot.com/